A Day at the Fort

Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, U.S. National Park Service (2018)

2 Thessalonians 3:3: But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

Spring has sprung a little early in Northeast Florida, producing beautiful sunny days with temperatures in the low-mid 70’s. To celebrate, the [little] boys and I decided to head outdoors this President’s Day, to experience a local monument that we so frequently drive past but never stop to explore.

Follow along as we share about day adventure at Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in St. Augustine, FL!

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If you’re anything like us, we often drive by this National Monument, on our way to another place in St. Augustine. But today, with very little agenda, we decided to go and explore Castillo de San Marcos.

For starters, I highly recommend experiencing the monument, even if just once, to actually see all of the beautiful history that lies past the entrance. I will say, though, that we had so much fun just on the lawn outside of the fort. So if exploring the fort isn’t what you had in mind (or you want a completely free outing), bring a blanket and some bubbles and plant yourself outside on the monument’s lawn.

It is very inexpensive (and free for kids of a young age!) to experience the monument, so that’s exactly what we decided to do!

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While the monument would be fun for all genders and ages, there was something about exploring a fort for our boys aged 5.5 and 3 that was beyond their wildest imagination. It was like playing cops and robbers in our home, on steroids. They had the ability to run wild, climb, protect themselves from each other and pretend to fire off cannons. And for the record, Griffin specifically should never be granted access to a cannon:

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Check out some of the many ways that our boys explored Castillo de San Marcos on their own:

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Just like at Timucuan Preserve and Fort Caroline National Monument, our boys favorite part was becoming a Junior Ranger and being awarded a badge. This specific monument had a very young child-friendly “quiz” so even Griffin could participate to become an official ranger.

It was a wonderful, inexpensive (see below!) last minute outing for us. As a treat for Landon being off from school, we decided to grab a quick bite to eat. If you’re looking for a simple and fast lunch after exploring the monument, Al’s Pizza is directly across the street and offers wonderful views of the monument.

My advice: experience this fort one time. We felt like we saw all that we needed to see with one visit but we’re so glad we actually went behind those cobblestone walls!


Trek Difficulty Level: (0): Goodness is this easy access! As soon as you drive into the main hub of St. Augustine and George St., you can’t miss this monument. Parking is located literally right next to it for a very low rate.

Trek Budget: $10 – Adults are charged $10 to access this monument while children and teens 15 and under are free with an adult. Once you purchase this pass, it is good for seven days.

3 Trek Must-Dos: 

  • Choose to visit when it isn’t a holiday! It was a beautiful day and everyone agreed 🙂 This made parking a bit of a hassle when it’s typically easier. Parking cost under $5 and credit card was accepted.
  • Get your Junior Ranger badge! You’ll also get a certificate to remember your day, all for free!
  • Be on the lookout for a Colonial general walking around for a great photo opp.

The Kids’ Trek Tip: “Wear your sunglasses, it’s sunny!” – Landon (5.5)

xo, Meg & the little boys

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